The Value Conundrum in the New Xbox Series X and S


Figuring out the value in the new Xbox Series S is a difficult one. Perhaps one that shouldn’t quite be as difficult as it seems. The price you pay for not going all out!

The launch of Microsoft’s next-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S, is just around the corner! The tech giant is launching both consoles side by side on 10 November all over the world, so no matter where you are in the world, you’ll still get to hold your Xbox close on the release date.

It’s clear that the Xbox Series X is the serious piece of hardware among the two. On paper it’s even a little more powerful than the PlayStation 5, which is great! But does anyone know the point of the Series S?

What Does Each Console Offer?

The Xbox Series X is more expensive as it’ll cost $499 or £449, depending on which side of the pond you’re on. The Series S is $299 or £249 at launch which seems like a bargain for next-gen tech. Or does it?

Let’s take a closer look.

Xbox Series XXbox Series S
CPU8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8GHz8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz
GPUAMD RDNA 2 GPU 52 CUs @ 1.825GHzAMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz
Performance Target4K @ 60 -120 FPS1440p @ 60 -120 FPS
Disc Drive4K Blu-RayDigital Only

Regardless of whether or not these specifications sound quite complicated, it’s plain to see that the Series S is significantly weaker than the Series S. It’s only supposed to handle 1440p gaming at 60-120 frames per second. And that’s fine, considering that it’s half the price.

Having said that, you lose the ability to have a home theatre with any Blu-Ray discs you may have in the home, you have a slower CPU, a slower GPU, and less RAM. The one thing that many people may not recognise is that you also have less disk space. Significantly less disk space…

The Problem with Disk Space

If you’re a PC owner, then you’ll probably live by the adage, “the more the merrier”. Without having enough disk space on your PC, you wouldn’t be able to install the games you want to play.

According to a report on IGN, the Xbox Series X has 802GB of usable storage space on its 1TB SSD. This means that around 200GB of the disk space on the drive has been reserved for the operating system and the essential files. If we assume that Microsoft is going to be running the same OS on the Series S, it’ll leave users will around 300GB. 

Microsoft has been working with Seagate to ensure that there are expansion cards that work with the Xbox Series X and S to expand the disk space that you have. These 1TB expandable drives have been priced at a whopping $219.99. 

With these next generation games, there will come a greater requirement for more disk space.  The textures, audio, video, coding, and everything else combined, will leave a good chance that these AAA games are going to be whoppers. In fact, just working off current-gen number for now, two of the largest games when installed right now are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Destiny 2: Shadowkeep. Together, they both clock in at around 340GB. If your alarm bells are going off, that’s fine, because that means you won’t be able to have both of these titles installed on your Xbox Series S at the same time due to hard drive constraints. 

But wait, you can just buy the expandable drive to increase your disk space. Yes, you can. But then you’re paying more than you would have paid for an Xbox Series X and would have received a less powerful console. Ouch! 

Is there any point in buying an Xbox Series S then? Well, sure. If you don’t have a 4K TV, and you have some external drives lying around that you can use as storage. Although bear in mind, you won’t be able to play these games, merely store them. Xbox has stated that they can be transferred to the SSD when players want to play them in order to take advantage of the Xbox Velocity Architecture.

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